Last year I had a total student loan balance of about $138,000. After paying over $19,000 towards that student loan last year I currently have a balance of just over $126,000. That is just a $12,000 reduction. The other $7000 I paid went to interest. It is tough to make much headway on this loan since it incurs about $600 in interest every month.
Other than the money that went to medical bills I used all of the settlement money from my accident to pay down my student loan. If I wouldn’t have had that small windfall I would have made very little progress on paying down my loan last year. It is unlikely I will get another windfall. That is why I’m looking for other large chunks of money to pay down my student loan. The only large chunk of money I have are my IRAs. I have about $30,000 in my IRAs which if I were able to apply the total amount to my student loan would at least allow me to get it under six figures. There would still be a lot left to pay but it would result in a decent amount of interest savings.
I have a traditional IRA with about a $20,000 balance. A big problem with using the traditional IRA to pay down my student loan is that I would have to pay a 10% early withdrawal penalty and income tax on the amount I withdrew. That alone is enough to keep me from using the traditional IRA to pay my student loan.
I also have a Roth IRA with a little over $9000. Since I have had the IRA for over five years I could withdraw my contributions – but not my earnings – and not have to pay the 10% early withdrawal penalty. The contributions were already tax and thus the withdrawal wouldn’t be considered income and subject to tax. My Roth IRA doesn’t have any earnings since it has lost money so I’d be able to withdraw the entire amount without paying the penalty. This amount wouldn’t make a big reduction in my loan. As I’m almost 50 years old I wouldn’t have a lot of time to rebuild my retirement savings. An additional $9000 probably isn’t going to be much help when I’m retired but it would be better than nothing.
What do you think I should do?